BPW to the European Action Coalition meeting in Paris

The biannual meeting of the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City took place in Paris from 9 to 12 November 2023. The Precarious Housing Association (BPW) has been part of this broad action coalition of 38 housing action groups from all over Europe since the start of the coalition 10 years ago. Three members of the BPW therefore traveled to Paris to participate in the four-day program during which the functioning of the coalition was discussed, organizing actions, the European Housing Action Week and strengthening mutual European solidarity. In addition, publicly accessible workshops and discussions were organized around the European housing struggle and related themes.

The four-day program was held in two social/community centers in the Sainte Marguerite and Montreuil neighborhoods. The first two days took place in the CICP, International Center for Popular Culture.

After the first days in CICP, in which all present action groups had ample time to get to know each other and share knowledge about the housing struggle in their local and national context, it was time for two days of public workshops and discussions in the art and community center AERI. On the program there were 4 workshops and a meeting:

  • Public workshop 1 — Housing policies, discrimination and repression.
  • Public workshop 2 — Climate change and housing and spatial planning policies. What alliances between movements for climate justice and movements for the right to housing and to the city?
  • Public workshop 3 — Speculation and financialization. European mobilizations to tackle the housing crisis.
  • Public workshop 4 — Struggles against big unnecessary projects and touristification in urban and rural areas.
  • Public meeting — Let's fight together! Let's mobilize for the right to housing and to the city all over Europe!

The public workshops were well attended by people from Paris initiatives and other local activists, as well as other European action groups that are not (yet) part of the EAC. We therefore experienced the entire program as very valuable, combative and motivating. It is sad to hear that more or less the same human rights violations regarding the right to housing are taking place everywhere in Europe. The further financialization and precarization of housing, the criminalization of squatters and immigrants and the touristification of our cities are causing major problems everywhere, such as unaffordable rents, chronic housing stress and evictions resulting in homelessness. It gives us strength to see that wherever injustice is done to residents, grassroots initiatives arise to oppose this together with them. Many groups use more or less the same action tactics as those of the BPW. Stopping and blocking evictions by organizing residents in solidarity networks is central to many groups. 

The European Action Coalition would not be an action coalition if action was not also taken during the weekend. Among other things, solidarity was expressed with the fight against the construction of a metro station on the only green, public space in the Netherlands anarchist neighborhood of Exarcheia in Athens and evicted squatter collectives in the neighboring districts of Paris, through two banners. We have also drawn up a broadly supported statement for a ceasefire in Gaza and a large part of the coalition joined the march for Palestine, which attracted tens of thousands of Parisians. 

We thank the EAC and the facilitators for organizing this valuable, militant weekend, the CICP and the AERI for opening their doors, the interpreters for the important translation work and the women's collective who cooked for us every day. Thanks also to all participants for the fun and educational days and the solidarity. We look forward to the next EAC meeting.

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